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Three Card Second Chance


Three Card Second Chance is a casino poker game, meaning that it’s derived from classic player vs player poker, but instead the player plays against the house. Three Card Second Chance was invented by Michal Shackleford and is based on the Three Card Poker game. Three Card Second Chance is played with a single standard deck of cards.

We are only aware of Three Card Second Chance being available at WagerWorks (IGT) casinos, however at the time of writing this article Three Card Second Chance appears to have been taken offline.

Play Structure

Initially the player places an ‘Ante’ wager and the dealer will deal out 3 cards to the player. The player then has the choice to either keep the cards they’ve been dealt or to place a ‘2nd Chance’ wager equal to their Ante wager to replace their hand.

After the player has either kept or replaced their hand the dealer will deal out 3 cards to themselves. The dealer will keep any hand of King high or better and replace any weaker hand with a new hand. The will only happen once and if the second hand dealt to the dealer is weaker than King high it is still kept.


Hand Comparison

Three Card Second Chance ranks hands according to a hierarchy common to poker games which is explained below (strongest to weakest);

* Straight Flush – three numerically adjacent cards of the same suit (Example – 4, 5 and 6 of Diamonds). Where both the player and dealer hold a Straight Flush the hand with the highest card is considered the winner.

* 3 of a Kind – three cards of matching rank (Example - 7 of Hearts, Clubs and Spades). Where both the player and the dealer hold 3 of a Kind the hand with the higher rank is considered the winner.

* Straight – three numerically adjacent cards ignoring suit (Example – 9 of Clubs, 10 of Diamonds and Jack of Diamonds). Where both the player and dealer hold a Straight the hand with the highest card is considered the winner.

* Flush – three cards of the same suit (Example – Ace, 8 and Queen of Spades). Where both the player and dealer hold a Flush the hand with the highest card is considered the winner.

* Pair - two cards of matching rank with a third unmatched card (Example – 6 of Clubs and Hearts and King of Clubs). Where the player and the dealer hold a matching pair, the hand with the highest third card (also called a ‘Kicker’) wins.

* High Card – any three unmatched cards ranked as the highest card (Example – 5 of Spades, 9 of Clubs and Ace of Diamonds would be considered ‘Ace High’).

In the unusual instance where both the dealer and player have hands of matching value by the above table, the hand is considered a push and the player’s bets are returned.


When the player has a winning hand both the Ante and the 2nd Chance wagers are paid out as follows;

Hand Odds
Straight Flush 6 to 1
3 of a Kind 4 to 1
Straight 3 to 2
All other wins 1 to 1
House Edge 2.37%

Best Hand Bonus

WagerWorks casinos have added a ‘Best Hand’ side bet to Three Card Second Chance. If the player is playing this bet they win when either the player or the dealer receive one of the hands in the paytable. Only the highest hand is paid (so if both the player and dealer had a hand from the paytable, only the best hand would be paid) and discarded hands are not included. The maximum the player is allowed to wager on the side bet is twice their Ante bet. The payouts are as follows;

Hand Odds
3 Aces 35 to 1
Straight Flush 15 to 1
3 of a Kind 12 to 1
Straight 3 to 1
Flush 2 to 1
House Edge -3.53%

The Best Hand side bet is pretty much unique amongst side bets in that this wager actually carries a player advantage. This means that the player should always wager the maximum allowed on the Best Hand bet.

House Edge*

The House Edge of Three Card Second Chance has 3 distinct sections and is based on the presumption that the player utilises the optimal strategy discussed below.

Main Game – 2.37%/11.02%*

Best Hand Side Bet – (-3.53%)

Combined House Edge – 1.07%

* The first figure refers to a strategy optimized to the main gain while the second figure refers to a strategy optimised to the Best Hand side bet. The Combined House Edge figure is based on the latter.

Optimal Strategy

The optimal strategy for Three Card Second Chance is to always play the maximum allowed bet on the Best Hand side bet and use a strategy optimized to this wager. The optimum strategy for this game is to keep your hand if you hold unsuited AK4 or better and replace your hand if you have unsuited AK3 or weaker.

You can also use our Three Card Second Chance strategy calculator for help with decision making;


If playing the game without placing the Best Hand side bet the optimum strategy is to stand on unsuited KT2 or better.

Fairness Calculator

Below you can find a calculator to allow you to check the fairness of your wins/losses when playing Three Card Second Chance.

*This fairness calculator will assume that you’ve been playing with the optimal strategy detailed above. If you have not then the calculator will NOT return accurate results.

Winning Strategies


As far as we’re aware Three Card Second Chance has only ever been offered as an online game.


There are several methods of legitimately gaining an advantage playing online Three Card Second Chance games. By and large these involve the use of promotions, bonuses and comp point systems as the games by themselves – assuming the game is functioning in a correct fashion and there are no errors in the paytable – will not provide any additional information about the cards and shuffles after every hand.

It should be noted that online advantage play is not specific to Three Card Second Chance and in recent years the wagering requirements for player’s choosing to play any table game has inflated to the point that Three Card Second Chance is now often a sub-optimal choice for the player. For more information on beating online casinos see

* All ‘House Edge’ figures in this article are based on the ‘loss per unit wagered’ rather than ‘loss per initial bet’.

United Kingdom country flag

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland sits to the north-west of mainland Europe. The United Kingdom shares a border with The Republic of Ireland and has coasts on the Atlantic Ocean, Celtic Sea, North Sea, Irish Sea and English Channel. The population of the UK is approaching the 67.6 million mark leading to a fairly densely populated land mass. The gambling sector in the United Kingdom is entirely regulated and licensed by the UKGC – the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Should players resident In the UK wish to gamble with foreign based operators there is no history of this being treated as a criminal offence, but high levels of protection exist for UK residents playing with UK licensed operators.